Why I’m Proud to Be a Registered Nurse

When someone asks why I’m proud to be a Registered Nurse, it makes me think about nurses everywhere and how proud I am to be counted among you.

I think of oncology nurses. You must be proud, I think, of the work you do. You who tread so closely to the chaos of cancer. I see you sometimes smiling at a young mother pushing an IV pole with one hand, and a baby carriage with the other. It makes me wonder how you do that work. When I tell you that you are the hero of nursing, you tell me that you are not. You say the real heroes are your patients who teach you about strength, resolve and acceptance.

I think of you nurses who work in burn units and treat the horrors caused by fires that consume skin, muscle, and bone. Painful work. I don’t know how you do it, yet when I tell you that you are the hero of nursing, you say that you are not. You say the patients are your heroes because they teach you courage, endurance and faith.

When someone asks why I’m proud to be a registered nurse, I think of you military nurses who are a huge part of the heritage of serving these United States of America. When I tell you that you are the hero of nursing you say you are not. You say your patients are the heroes who teach you about loyalty, bravery and self-sacrifice.

I think of you rehab nurses who face a newly paralyzed teenager and offer patience, understanding and hope. I wonder how you do that work and tell you surely you must be the hero of nursing. You tell me the patients are the heroes who teach you determination, persistence and spirit.

When someone asks why I’m proud to be a registered nurse, I think of you widely knowledgeable med-surg nurses. Of you ER nurses who see lives changed forever in one catastrophic moment. I think of you OR nurses, PACU nurses, OB nurses, office nurses, visiting nurses, hospice nurses and ICU nurses. I think of nurses who work in prisons, nursing homes and schools. Of nurse educators, pediatric nurses, dialysis nurses, transplant nurses, endo and psych nurses. When I say you are the heroes of nursing, you all say the same thing: That the real heroes are the patients.

And when I say I don’t know how you do the work you do, you say you can’t imagine doing any other.

When someone asks why I am proud to be a registered nurse it is not only because I know nurses continually strive for knowledge, competence and expertise, but because I know you have learned that it is truly in giving that you receive. You know that life’s worth isn’t counted in coins or accomplishments, but rather in lives touched. That a soul soothed by a word, a moistened lip, or a heart that hears, is worth more than a mountain of gold.

I know that your passion for nursing surpasses its shortcomings, its trials, its adversities. I know that you dream and work to make it all better for future generations of nurses.

I know you know that the most honorable words you can say to another human being are: “I am your nurse”.

When someone asks why I am proud to be a registered nurse, I think of nurses everywhere and I am proud to be counted among you.

Patricia Agostino

is a registered nurse on staff at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT.

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